There was a time in my early recovery when I thought that making New Year’s resolutions (for me) was going overboard. I reasoned that I had already quit drinking and using drugs, so what more did the world want from me?
Talk about self defeating logic! Setting goals to become a better person in the new year–even if it’s just one goal–is not something that you owe to the world. Instead, achieving such a goal or resolution is more like a gift to yourself.
Photo by Aaron Franklin
If you are in recovery, you can not afford to stagnate. We must keep growing. We must continue to push ourselves. This is where the major rewards of a life of sobriety really come from.
Use Leverage to Push Yourself
The New Year is an opportunity. Use it as a form of leverage to jump start your life and motivate yourself. Other people around you are going to be making resolutions. Enthusiasm can be contagious. Make a commitment to push yourself into making a positive change of some sort.
You know how good it feels to achieve a high goal that you’ve set for yourself. Don’t be afraid to aim high and set up a reward system for yourself either. This is the time to get motivated!
Prioritize Your Goals
Goals should either
1) Maintain good habits
2) Start new healthy habits
3) Eliminate bad habits
Photo by Solsonic
You don’t have to go nuts and make a list of ten goals for the year or anything (although that would be an admirable course of action). Instead, prioritize your goals and just find one or two that you really want to achieve, then focus on that.
Another great idea is to find 2 goals for the new year, one a positive achievement to aim for and the other a negative habit to eliminate. For example, you might try quitting smoking for the elimination goal and start an exercise plan as a new positive habit.
I know it was easy for me to prioritize when I was still smoking cigarettes. I constantly thought about quitting and wanted to do so very badly. In that case, the choice was obvious. I focused all of my efforts on quitting smoking and didn’t bother myself with setting any additional goals. Just quitting was important enough for me to focus on it exclusively.
Here are some areas you might consider:
* Physical Health
– Nutritional Habits
– Start a new Relationship
– Fix a troubled relationship
– End a negative relationship
– Start Investing
– Get a Better Job
– Embrace Sensible Spending Habits
A Word of Caution: Don’t Set a Vague Goal
Any goal you set for yourself should be specific enough for you to measure your success. Don’t just say “I’m going to exercise more.” That is practically useless and allows you plenty of wiggle room. A much better goal would be “I’m going to jog at least 15 miles a week” or “I’m going to go to the gym at least 4 times a week.” These are specific and measurable. Much more effective than a vague promise to yourself to do better.
Here’s another idea: tell us your goal in a comment below. Writing it out and posting it on the web will give you just a tiny bit more motivation in holding yourself accountable to follow through with it. Go ahead, tell us what you are shooting for!
Photo by Sally M